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UNODC-WCO finalise first Container Control training in Lao PDR

Vientiane (Lao PDR), 4 March 2016
- With over 500 million sea containers traversing across the globe every year law enforcement officers must be ever vigilant to detect, deter, prevent and combat the illicit trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, drugs, precursor chemicals, wildlife and other items that could either be utilised for terrorist activity or benefit transnational organised criminal groups.

Lao PDR is a country of import, export and transit of various illicit trade items and a country at risk from transnational organised threats such as heroin, opium, synthetic drugs, precursors, illegal wildlife and timber, weapons, counterfeit goods and falsified medicines.

Today Lao PDR saw the completion of its first two-week theoretical training on container control following the extension of the UNODC-WCO Global Container Control Programme (CCP) to its territory in 2015. Participants attended from the Customs Department HQ, Thanaleng Inland Container Depot (ICD) as well as from other border crossings (ICDs in Savannakhet and Bokeo provinces), from the Lao National Committee on Drug Control (LCDC), Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) and Ministry of Public Security (MoPS).

'As a transit country, high risk remains at all areas. The focus on training will be a key element for our capacity-building' highlighted Mr. Inpong Chanthavongsa, Deputy Director General of the Counter Narcotics Department, Ministry of Public Security.

'We share the same goal as your organisations: to strengthen border security and to facilitate legitimate trade. Our work and your work, day-to-day, helps keep the world a safer place', highlighted a representative of the Government of Canada, major donor to the SE Asia component of CCP, at the Closing Ceremony.

UNODC estimates the criminal proceeds of trafficking in the top 10 illegal commodities in SE Asia and the Pacific to be at least 90 billion USD per annum. Over 95% of this value relates to items that can be transported within sea containers. Detecting and preventing these items in the containerised supply chain will make a significant contribution to disrupting organised criminal activity, facilitating trade, protection societies and developing economies.

As Lao PDR continues its economic growth and moves from a land-locked to land-linked country in the context of the ASEAN Economic Community, an enhanced capacity to secure the containerised supply chain will protect its people, support ASEAN partners and contribute to the global fight against terrorism and transnational organised crime.

The Global Container Control Programme operates in 52 countries of the world. The 8 ASEAN countries of Lao PDR, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are included in the SE Asia component of the Programme through the financial contributions of the Governments of Canada (Global Partnership Program), the United States of America (Export Control and Related Border Security Programme) and Australia (Department of Immigration and Border Protection).